February 26, 2024

Caleb Williams’ USC teammate warns Bears about No. 1 pick

A USC wide receiver issued a strong warning for the Chicago Bears as they deliberate on what to do with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Brenden Rice, the son of legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice, is adamant that his former teammate, quarterback Caleb Williams, will be a huge success in the NFL. In fact, the younger Rice effectively told Bears GM Ryan Poles that passing on Williams would ultimately get him fired.

“If you can go ahead and risk [not picking him] and picking apart his game and letting him fall, have fun losing your job, man,” Rice said, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Honestly, have fun. I’m proud of my quarterback.”

Rice may be right, but the stakes are high on both sides of the decision. Poles inherited Justin Fields when he took over as GM in 2022. So if he does draft Williams, it will be his first quarterback selection — and one that would likely wind up making or breaking his tenure.

The question ultimately depends on whether Bears brass view Williams as a generational talent. If they do, they could get a decent return for Fields and start fresh. If they don’t, they have the option of sticking with Fields and getting a big haul for the top pick.